297 words explaining Econonomics as immoral pseudo-science
And remember, Eugenics used to be respectable as was Galen’s anatomy. Nobel Prize winning economist Thomas Sargent provides the following list of economics principles, lauded by Vox as deeply insightful
1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.
On the surface, this is a tired truism that one tries to teach toddlers. Underneath it’s economics default position - a defense of the status quo.
2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.
3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.
Hilarious after (1) and (2), but, again, the surface meaning is misdirection. After all, if we took this at face value, we’d give up college tests (evaluate your own abilities, students), employer evaluations, marketing, and market research. Think about how many people knew they wanted a smartphone before someone went out and made one. What he really means is something a lot more ideological. He means that Democratic government cannot shape the economy for the general prosperity. And that’s false.
4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don’t always end up working as intended.
What he means here is that poor people won’t work if you feed them. This is neither true nor a finding of research, it’s the timeless excuse of the well fed hack for the privileges of his masters.
5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.
This is just baldly false otherwise the most “efficient” economy would consist of one King and his slaves.
6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.
Equilibrium is one of the most pernicious concepts of economics. Basically it means, shut up and be happy with the crumbs, sucker, because this is how it is. Certainly industrial economies have never been in equilibrium.
7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you’d like to make but can’t. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.
Economics encourages you to forget about stupid shit like honor and just grab what you can, unless you are poor, in which case, see (6).
8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.
Surface meaning: people sometimes don’t tell the truth. Actual meaning: you can’t rely on government programs like Social Security, so we should kill them.
9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).
This is just false. The social security system increases the national wealth, reducing the burden on subsequent generations.
10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.
This is the empirically false common Econ axiom that government spending cannot create wealth. For example, all that spending the US government did on creating and building out the Internet will have to be paid paid later by citizens of the imaginary Economics world where government spending cannot grow the economy. Here in the actual world, government spending on the Internet paid massive dividends.
11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).
For example, rich people don’t want to pay for public order and social functioning that permits them to earn wealth. Oh wait, that’s not what he means.
12. Because market prices aggregate traders’ information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.
The hidden premise here is that stock prices, interest rates, and exchange rates depend on aggregate traders information. Because, for example, the central banks can’t push interest rates up or down, even though they do.
The best statement was the first:
Economics is organized common sense.
No. Economics is a pseudo-scientific ideology designed to preserve the short term advantages of the privileged and justify selfish blindly immoral behavior even if the cost is the destruction of the world.